I respect your opinion, but I disagree.
First: the term "assault rifle" is a vague misnomer. Any rifle can be an assault weapon. For the military, their "assault rifles" are capable of firing AUTOMATICALLY or in 3 shot bursts. The civilian versions, while similar in "appearance", have no such capability. The civilian versions operate just like any other semi-automatic rifle.
Second: Our 2nd Amendment, like our 1st, does not have "qualifiers". In fact it specifically states that it is an unalienable right meaning, the government did not grant us this right; it is a right derived by virtue of being born a free person. It also stipulates that the government may NOT restrict that right. We already allow certain restrictions by permitting background checks, and limiting military weapons to either the military or police, or in rare occassions individuals who go through a lengthy permitting process and pay the government a license fee. No average, everyday citizen, crazy or not, has access to those types of weapons.
Third: Even though I may not desire to own an AR-15 or AK-47 "style" of rifle, I detest some bureaucrat telling me that, as a free, law abiding, sane, citizen that I am not trustworthy enough to own one. They, nor you, have that right, just as no one has the right to tell me which church to go to or what newspaper to buy.
Fourth: Having a weapon, of choice, that an individual is competent at shooting, is EXACTLY the point. It does have a direct relationship on a person's "self-defense", the AR style rifles ARE indeed used in hunting, sport shooting, competitve/recreational shooting. In fact, they are one of the most widely used guns in America today.
Fifth: Your comment: "People who would buy such weapons are precisely the ones we don't want
to have them." Is not only inaccurate, but displays a lack of understanding of the real underlying causes for these tragedies. As stated previously, many, sane, competent, decent, law abiding Americans currently own these rifles and enjoy using them for a variety of lawful purposes; the guns, their caliber, their capacity, nor their appearance are the problem. These shootings did not happen because the shooter had an AR-15; they happened because the shooter was, for whatever mental or emotional reason, not acting rationally and committed a heinous crime while breaking the existing laws. More laws will not fix the problems with evil, crazy, irrational behavior.
I am saddened, and sickened by the carnage this single person inflicted on so many families. Like most people who see it, I am angry. Rationally, I realize, I cannot be angry at the gun or the millions of Americans who choose to own and use that type of gun in their own "pursuit of happiness" that is guaranteed under our constitution. I am ANGRY as hell at a society that fails to place the blame where the blame should be; on the individual who committed the crime, and his family and friends who supported him and enabled him. I am ANGRY that the American culture has declined to such a state that we no longer mourn the deaths of millions of unborn babies by abortion; in fact, we elected a man to the Presidency who not only supported late term abortion, he voted for and even went so far as stating that an aborted late term baby, that happens to survive, should be left to die because that was the mother's intent. Talk about callous! Talk about insensitive! Talk about disgusting!
I am also saddened that intelligent people, such as yourself, are inclined to accept a knee jerk reaction, which will not solve the real causes of much deeper societal problems of mental health, drug abuse, etc.
We have some really serious problems in society today. We should be brave enough to face the facts that several generations of permissiveness decaying moral values, political correctness, drugs, and the destruction of the traditional family are more at fault than a specific type of firearm. There have been guns around for centuries. True, until the 20th century we didn't have high capacity, weapons, but we have had semi-automatics since the early 20th century and it has only been in the past couple of decades that we've seen this level of violence perpetrated on our most vulnerable citizens. Rather than rushing to judge those who legally own, and lawfully use, these weapons, I would encourage you to get involved in a meaningful investigation and dialogue to put the blame where it should be and begin to change society's value system rather than restrict a free American's constitutional right to keep the arms he or she chooses will best suit them.